On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan’s $3.5 trillion proposal with a margin of 228-191, with every Democrat voting against the measure. However, it is expected to face defeat in the Democratic-run Senate.
The House rejected a budget pushed by its most conservative members earlier Thursday. This comes just a day after a $3.6 trillion budget presented by President Obama and The White House was defeated in the same chamber.
President Obama’s budget proposal has been opposed by Republicans because of its lack of spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthy. The proposal was rejected 414-0, due to the Democrats knowing that the President’s proposal would be rejected along party lines.
The more conservative members pushed a budget that included significant reductions in domestic programs, including planning spending on Medicaid. It was the only proposal on the table that would have brought a balanced budget within five years. None of the other three competing budget proposals would achieve a balance budget within the next 10 years.
Both parties’ rhetoric suggest that they are interested in reducing the annual budget defect that exceed $1 trillion.
“This is the American taxpayers’ money, and we ought to be more protective of it,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday.
“It’s a path to greater prosperity – if you’re already wealthy,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, top Democrat on the Budget panel, “because our Republican colleagues refuse to ask millionaires to contribute one cent to deficit reduction, they hit everyone and everything else.”
Significant Changes To Medicare and Medicaid
Rep. Ryan’s budget offers what could be the most significant change in government-provided health care.
Medicare, the program that offers medical care to senior citizens 65 and older, would change in 2023. Currently, those 55 and older would still have access to Medicare as it is today.
Medicare would become for younger Americans a system that would offer a voucher to purchase private health insurance.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Ryan’s budget “ends the Medicare guarantee.”
“Unless we change something, unless we put it on a solvent footing, the Medicare guarantee is gone,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
Medicaid, the program that offers medical care to poor and indigent Americans, would become a block-grant program. Money would be administered to state governments, which will have greater control of how they use the funds and administer the program.